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While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

The Commons Defence Committee said the cyber threat to UK security had the ability to evolve at

Armed forces are vulnerable to cyber attack, warn MPs

Commons Defence Committee said threat to UK security had ability to evolve at 'almost unimaginable speed'

Ziad Takieddine: The ski-resort owner with a taste for the high life

In the early 1990s, Ziad Takieddine exchanged one kind of slippery slope for another.

Struck was a strong opponent of the 2003 Iraq war

Peter Struck: Politician who lost faith in the Afghan campaign

The German involvement in the Afghan war was already underway when in October 2002 Peter Struck was asked by the Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to take over the defence portfolio. Struck's predecessor at Defence was Rudolf Scharping, under whom the Bundeswehr , or German armed forces, participated for the first time since 1945 in a war outside Germany, in the former Yugoslavia. Scharping was removed shortly before the Bundestag elections in 2002, after a photo of him with his girlfriend appeared on holiday in Majorca just before the Bundeswehr was about to embark on a difficult operation in Macedonia.

BAE wins £2.5bn fighter plane deal

Defence giant BAE Systems has won a £2.5 billion deal to sell 20 aircraft to Oman, helping to sustain thousands of jobs in the UK.

MoD supply reform hits problems

Doubts grow over business case for bringing private sector into military procurement

North Korea defies warnings and launches long-range rocket

North Korea fired a long-range rocket today in a second launch under its new leader, defying warnings from the UN and Washington.

£1.2 billion submarine contract announced by MoD

The contract with BAE Systems will safeguard 3,000 skilled jobs at Barrow in Cumbria

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks bailed to 8 March

David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks appeared at the Old Bailey today accused of making corrupt payments to public officials.

Danny Nightingale: He allegedly called his wife under duress and asked her not to co-operate

MoD faces allegations it attempted to use D-Notice to embargo details of Danny Nightingale’s story

The Ministry of Defence was tonight facing allegations that it had tried to thwart details of the freed SAS sergeant Danny Nightingale’s story by resorting to a D-Notice, an embargo usually reserved for matters of national security.

US imposes 'awful' ban on BP pitching for new work

The recent run of good fortune for BP ended yesterday as the US government accused it of showing "a lack of business integrity" over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and temporarily banned it from pitching for new federal contracts.

US bans BP from pitching for new government work

Oil giant is punished for its 'lack of business integrity' over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in 2010

The 20-year-old was engaged to Emma Hickman, 19, who was pregnant with their child

Dead soldier’s fiancée wins right to paternity test

A teenage mother has won the right to have her dead fiancé's DNA tested to prove that he fathered their child before he was killed on military service in Afghanistan.

Australia apologises to victims of sexual abuse in the military

The earliest case relates to the alleged abuse of a 13-year-old navy trainee in 1951

Destruction: A boy sits in a Gaza house wrecked by an Israeli air-strike

Israel's shame: Children, the true victims

In Gaza, one-in-three of those killed or injured is under 18

Afghan National Army soldiers stand in formation during a ceremony handing over the Bagram prison to Afghan authorities in September

Karzai orders takeover of air base after 'serious breach' of US pact

President accuses Washington of violating agreement to hand back Afghan inmates

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there